03/09/12 4:00 PM EST
Harvey flawless in relief against Braves
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Matt Den Dekker's two-run single in the eighth inning off Robert Fish proved decisive for the Mets, who claimed a 5-3 win over the Braves at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex on Friday afternoon.
Den Dekker's single to deep center came after the Braves tied the game at 3 in the bottom of the seventh inning on Todd Cunningham's sacrifice fly.
Braves starting pitcher Randall Delgado retired the first four batters he faced, then allowed singles to four of his next five batters during what became a three-run top of the second inning. Mike Baxter and Ronny Cedeno accounted for the scoring with consecutive bases-loaded singles.
Delgado, who is fighting for the Braves rotation's final spot, was perfect in the first and third innings. After he exited, the Braves' top three relievers -- Eric O'Flaherty, Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel -- each worked a scoreless inning. The Mets did not make contact with a single pitch, as Venters recorded three strikeouts in a perfect sixth inning.
Mets starter Dillon Gee allowed two earned runs on five hits in three innings. His primary nemesis was Martin Prado, who scored after hitting a ground-rule double in both the first and third innings. Gee also allowed a second-inning double to Jason Heyward, who capped his two-hit game with a seventh-inning single.
Making his second Grapefruit League appearance, Matt Harvey -- ranked by MLB.com as the Mets' second-best prospect -- pitched a perfect fourth inning, retiring Chipper Jones and Eric Hinske before striking out Heyward swinging.
Up next: R.A. Dickey will be on the mound for Saturday's 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Nationals in Viera, Fla. D.J. Carrasco, Miguel Batista and Bobby Parnell are also scheduled to pitch. Parnell is fighting for a spot in the Opening Day bullpen.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.